What is the history of your favorite food? That depends upon the food and how deep you want to dig. Take tiramasu. This dish was "created" in the late 20th century. You could find a few magazines articles confirming period popularity/origination and stop there. Or? You could go the next level and research the recipe based on composition. You would soon discover this dish was based on Victorian-era moulded creams which were based on Colonial-era tipsy cakes which were inspired by Renaissance-era trifles.
EVOLUTION VS. INVENTION
Very few (if any) foods are invented. Most are contemporary twists on traditional themes. Louis Diat's famous Vichysoisse was a childhood favorite. Today's grilled cheese sandwich is connected to ancient cooks who melted cheese on bread. 1950s meatloaf is connected to ground cooked meat products promoted at the turn of the 20th century, which are, in turn related to ancient Roman minces. Need more? Corn dogs and weiner schnitzel. French fries and Medieval fritters. New York gyros and Middle Eastern doner kebabs. Hershey's Kisses and ancient Incan cocoa.
At Hampton Court, we spent some time with the Experimental Food Historians in the Tudor Kitchens, perhaps the highlight of my visit. Since learning there is such a thing, I am tempted to become an Experimental Food Historian myself when I get home, working from my own kitchen, and subjecting my poor husband to experimental concoctions. (via br)